MILF members support ASFP projects in ARMM PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 March 2013 18:51

Guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have become more willing to participate in the implementation of donor-funded projects in areas that were  previously known as “conflict flashpoints”.

Abba Kuaman, manager of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Social Fund Project (ASFP), said MILF members have been participating in various projects in remote areas, working alongside local government units and community folks.

The ASFP is the conduit of projects of the World Bank and the Japan International cooperation Agency.

“Even before the crafting of the FAB (Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro) small groups of MILF guerrillas have already been coming out to help in the implementation of our `community driven’ projects...,” Kuaman said.

Kuaman, whose office is operating under the ministerial control of ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, said MILF members became even more aggressive in participating in the community projects of the ASFP after the signing of the FAB last October 15, 2012.

The FAB, whose four annexes are now being completed by the government and MILF panels, aims to establish a new autonomous political entity, which the rebel group is to lead, replacing the ARMM.

Kuaman said the  rebels are helping in projects in Maguindanao’s adjoining Datu Piang, Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano, Datu Saidona and Datu Anggal towns.

Maguindanao is a known bastion of the MILF, whose main enclave, Camp Darapanan, is located in Sultan Kudarat town in the first district of the province.

Experts from World Bank rated as “satisfactory” several times since 2005 the ASFP’s implementation of its projects in the autonomous region, which include post-harvest facilities, farm-to-market roads, small fishing ports and public watercraft berthing facilities, multi-purpose centers and water systems.

JICA also has identical projects being implemented by the ASFP in many areas in the autonomous region.

The projects of ASFP are categorized into three components — the community development assistance; the strategic regional infrastructure; and the institutional strengthening and governance.

The World Bank has granted the Philippine government an additional  $30-million in 2010 to enable the ASFP to continue with its projects for underdeveloped communities.

The ASFP has succeeded in assisting 2, 490 barangays in the ARMM since its inception more than a decade ago.

Most of ASFP’s JICA and World Bank-assisted projects were implemented in areas covered by 1997 Agreement on

General Cessation of Hostilities between the government and the MILF.

There are also dozens constructed in known enclaves of the Moro National Liberation Front, which signed a peace pact with government on September 2, 1996.

Kuaman said there is “no conflict” between the ASFP projects and those to be implemented under Malacañang’s Sajahatra program, which President Benigno Aquino III launched in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last month.

The Sajahatra project is a convergence of government services to be implemented directly in underdeveloped areas in MILF strongholds.

Kuaman said Hataman has keenly been observing the implementation of the ASFP’s JICa and World Bank projects.